Over the past month, prominent alt-right personalities on YouTube have carved out platforms for themselves on a handful of popular livestreamed political debate channels, where they’ve engaged in debates against “classical liberal,” libertarian and “anti-social justice warrior” YouTube talkers.
The series of debates, which have been affectionately dubbed “bloodsports” by their participants, have provided the white nationalist alt-right with its latest chance to thrust itself into the political consciousness of young people and to appeal to members of some of the subcultures that have splintered from the movement in recent months.
The “bloodsports” phenomenon grew out of a fight about “race realism,” which is how some white supremacists refer to their pseudoscientific claims about racial superiority. A private group on the chat service Discord had been debunking “race realism” claims using scientific arguments. After the group was exposed to the public, its critics alleged that it had become a doxing operation that had distributed the personal information of various white nationalist YouTube personalities and targeted them for harassment. This was enough to get various factions of YouTube political personalities publicly feuding among themselves.
When the feuding between various pundits reached critical mass, alt-right figures who promote “race realism” and white nationalist advocates for the creation of ethnostates offered themselves up for debates with YouTube personalities who have channels much larger than their own. Taking advantage of the attention that the feud was providing, alt-right figures were able to secure spots on YouTube channels that boast hundreds of thousands of followers and to go up against some of YouTube’s biggest political commentators, such as Carl Benjamin (“Sargon of Akkad”), who were eager to inject themselves into the public hype.
One of the most prominent channels hosting these debates belongs to Andy Warski, a YouTube personality who has grown increasingly sympathetic to the alt-right. Warski appeared this month on the alt-right, anti-Semitic podcast “The Daily Shoah,” hosted by host Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, where he said that he thought people falsely believe Peinovich advocates genocide. (The word “Shoah” translates to “Holocaust.”)
In the last few weeks, Warski has hosted debates featuring nearly every popular white nationalist YouTube figure, including J.F. Gariepy, Tara McCarthy, Richard Spencer, Colin Robertson (“Millennial Woes”), Greg Johnson, Peinovich, James Allsup, Nick Fuentes and Tim Gionet (“Baked Alaska”). More often than not, these white nationalist personalities have been paired against conservative opponents who offer incredibly weak pushback to their arguments. On only a few occasions have they faced true, strong counter-arguments. One of these debates—featuring Sargon of Akkad and Tarl Warwick (“Styxhexenhammer666”) debating Spencer and Gariepy—became the highest-trending live video on YouTube during its broadcast. Afterward, Spencer declared that he had “destroyed” in the debate.
Warski claims that he’s simply hosting a “free speech platform” and accuses his critics of advocating for the censorship of his channel.
The series of debates and interviews hosted on channels like Warski’s have inspired near-daily discussion threads on the internet cesspools of 4chan and 8chan, and have attracted large alt-right audiences that have taken advantage of the pay-to-type “YouTube Super Chat” to spread messages promoting white nationalism. Less talked-about arenas for these alt-right debates include Gionet’s channel, which has featured Spencer, Robertson, anonymous alt-right user “Braving Ruin” and crackpot conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer, and a small channel called “Tonka Saw,” which occasionally manages to book higher-profile conservative figures.
While Warski and others present the “bloodsports” as neutral exercises in free speech, alt-right YouTube personalities are happily using the debates to make money via the streams’ “Super Chats” and to expand their reach among young audiences. Andrew Anglin, who heads up the neo-Nazi website “The Daily Stormer,” praised Warski for hosting alt-right figures.
Other white nationalists such as Spencer have openly gloated about their success in “bloodsports”: